ACC: Brandon Ford

Clemson Tigers spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
11:00
AM ET
2012 record: 11-2
2012 conference record: 7-1 (Atlantic Division co-champs)
Returning starters: offense: 6; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners:

QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins, T Brandon Thomas, WR Charone Peake, WR Martavis Bryant, DE Vic Beasley, DE Corey Crawford, LB Stephone Anthony, S Travis Blanks, LB Spencer Shuey; K Chandler Catanzaro

Key losses:

WR DeAndre Hopkins, RB Andre Ellington, TE Brandon Ford, C Dalton Freeman, WR Jaron Brown, DE Malliciah Goodman, CB Xavier Brewer, CB Rashard Hall, SS Jonathan Meeks, LB Tig Willard, P Spencer Benton

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Ellington (1,081 yards)
Passing: Boyd* (3,896 yards)
Receiving: Hopkins (1,405 yards)
Tackles: Willard (95)
Sacks: Beasley* (8)
Interceptions: Hall (4)

Spring answers

1. Freshman phenom at tight end: Jordan Leggett enrolled in January, and not a moment too soon. Sam Cooper tore his ACL, an injury that opened the door for Leggett, who had a fantastic spring. He had seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in the spring game, and he was impressive in the last two scrimmages. He’s not listed as the starter yet, but he is good enough to get there by the opener against Georgia.

2. Beasley’s a beast. He led the team with eight sacks last year, but really showed consistency in the spring. Twice had interceptions of Boyd where he made athletic plays, and he had 10 sacks in the three scrimmages. Clemson is in need of a big-play guy on defense, and Beasley could be it.

3. Solid behind Boyd. Clemson has found a No. 2 quarterback in Cole Stoudt, who threw for 304 yards in the first half of the Tigers’ spring game. He hardly played in the second half. The depth of the position took a hit when Chad Kelly was injured, but now the backup quarterback question has an answer.

Fall questions

1. Unsettled secondary. The cornerback position is a particular area of concern, but with eight true freshmen joining the team this August, the entire group could look different this summer. It wouldn’t be surprising to see at least four of those rookies earn playing time this fall, especially prized recruit Mackensie Alexander, who was the program’s highest-rated signee since former defensive end Da'Quan Bowers.

2. Center of attention: The Tigers will miss Dalton Freeman, who started 49 straight games at center. Ryan Norton is the new starter, but there’s no replacing the experience Freeman had with making all of the blocking calls and the chemistry he developed with Boyd.

3. Spotlight on Sammy: Watkins is moving to Hopkins’ old position, and all eyes will be watching to see if he looks like the same player who caught the nation’s attention as a true freshman in 2011. So far, so good. Watkins had 156 receiving yards in the spring game and looked like old Sammy.
With half of the conference playing spring games this weekend, here’s a look at what to watch if you’re keeping an eye on the ACC as spring ball comes to a close:

CLEMSON

When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday (ESPN3)

What to watch:
  • Quarterbacks of the future. You know Tajh Boyd is good. Expect Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly to take most of the snaps. Boyd played just four snaps in the last scrimmage. Let's see his backups.
  • The tight ends. Clemson tight ends Dwayne Allen and Brandon Ford have been the first team All-ACC tight ends the past two years. Clemson tight ends have 118 receptions and 21 touchdowns the past two years, perhaps the most underrated area in Chad Morris’ offense. So who moves in there this year? Sam Cooper is the most experienced, but freshman Jordan Leggett has been impressive this spring.
  • How much better is the defense? All eyes will be on Brent Venables' group to see how much progress it has made this spring. If the D gets better, it could be a special season in Death Valley.
FLORIDA STATE

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, (ESPN3)

What to watch:
  • The quarterbacks. It's been one of the hottest topics this spring in the ACC and arguably the biggest position battle in the conference. Check out Clint Trickett, Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston as they all battle to replace starter EJ Manuel.
  • The defensive line. The competition is on to replace Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine. Mario Edwards Jr. is ready to jump in, along with Giorgio Newberry.
  • Don't forget the kicker. It's big at FSU. The Noles have to replace Dustin Hopkins, the ACC's all-time leading scorer and the NCAA's all-time kick scorer. It's your chance to see Roberto Aguayo, who was one of the nation's top kickers coming out of high school.
MARYLAND

When: 7 p.m. on Friday in Byrd Stadium

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • The running backs. Both Brandon Ross and Albert Reid have had strong springs and will be competing for playing time come the fall.
  • The receivers. This group should be a strong point for the team this year, as Stefon Diggs, Deon Long and Nigel King are a talented trio.
  • New faces on defense. The Terps have to replace six starters on defense, including some of their best leaders in Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis.
DUKE

When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday (ESPN3) in Wallace Wade Stadium

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • Booooooone. Anthony Boone takes over at quarterback, and there have been rave reviews about him from within the program all spring. He's got a strong arm and is mobile.
  • New faces at safety. Some big names are gone, as Duke has to replace graduates Jordon Byas and Walt Canty, and Brandon Braxton, who moved back to receiver. Jeremy Cash, eligible now after transferring from Ohio State and sitting out last fall, headlines the group that includes sophomore Dwayne Norman (60 tackles in 2012 as true freshman) and redshirt freshman Corbin McCarthy.
  • Front and center: There is one hole to fill on the offensive line and Matt Skura takes over at center for Brian Moore.
MIAMI

When: 3 p.m. ET at Sun Life Stadium (ESPN3)

Gates open: 12:30 p.m.

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • Defensive improvement. Is there any? The Canes were one of the worst in the country last year, but they return every starter up front.
  • The No. 2 QB. Who is it? Gray Crow started the last scrimmage as the backup to Stephen Morris and completed 8 of 13 passes for 73 yards, with a touchdown and interception. Ryan Williams, who entered the spring as the expected No. 2, completed only six of his 12 passes with a touchdown and an interception. The coaches will be watching these guys closely on Saturday, so should you.
  • Running back Dallas Crawford. You know Duke Johnson. It's time to get to know this guy. Those within the program have said Crawford has had a great spring and could be a rising star this fall. He scored two touchdowns in a scrimmage in Naples earlier this month.
NORTH CAROLINA

When: 3 p.m. ET on Saturday at Kenan Stadium (ESPN3)

Admission: Free

Parking: $5/vehicle

What to watch:
  • Gio's replacement(s). A.J. Blue and Romar Morris have been working to ease the loss of leading rusher Giovani Bernard. Can they be as effective as he was, how much progress have they made and who will replace Bernard in the return game?
  • The O-line. Former guard Jonathan Cooper should be a first-round draft pick later this month, and it won't matter how good Blue and Morris are if they can't find anyone to help block for them. A total of three starters have to be replaced on the offensive line.
  • Replacing big names on D. Cooper and Bernard aren't the only big names that will be missing. The defense is going to miss tackle Sylvester Williams, who could be another first-round draft pick, and linebacker Kevin Reddick (85 tackles, 8.5 for loss). How does the D look without them?
PITTSBURGH

When: 7 p.m. ET on Friday at Bethel Park High School (ESPN3)

Gates open: 5:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

What to watch:
  • The quarterbacks. Fifth-year senior Tom Savage has taken most of the reps with the first team, and redshirt freshman Chad Voytik appears to be the backup, but coach Paul Chryst has yet to name a starter.
  • The running backs. Earlier this month, it was announced that Rushel Shell has decided to transfer. Since then, the bulk of the carries have gone to junior Isaac Bennett, sophomore Malcolm Crockett and senior Desmond Brown. How they fare will go a long way in determining how Pitt fares in its first season in the ACC.
  • The offensive line. It's been problematic for the Panthers in each of the past two seasons, and Pitt now has to break in two new starters in Gabe Roberts and Adam Bisnowaty.

ACC pro days watch

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
5:00
PM ET
This month is filled with pro days across the ACC, and we're here to keep you updated with how the auditions have been going for those schools that provide releases. So far, Pittsburgh, Miami, Clemson and Syracuse have all held their pro days. Here's a look at some of their highlights:

CLEMSON
MIAMI
  • Twelve Miami seniors auditioned for 30 NFL scouts.
  • S Vaughn Telemaque recorded the highest vertical jump at 36 inches.
  • DL Darius Smith was the lone participant to break the 30-rep plateau, recording 33 reps of 225 pounds.
  • Both RB Mike James and DB Brandon McGee took their official NFL combine 40 times. WR Kendal Thompkins had the best 40 time at pro day with 4.37.
  • LB Ramon Buchanan had the best broad jump at 10 feet, 8 inches.
PITT
  • Twelve seniors worked out in front of scouts from 17 NFL teams, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • The highlight, according to the paper, was Ray Graham's improvement in the 40. Graham ran a disappointing time of 4.8 seconds at the NFL combine, but improved to a range of 4.58 to 4.62.
SYRACUSE
  • Fifteen former players participated in pro day in front of 29 NFL scouts.
  • "Deon Goggins today really lit it up," said SU assistant athletics director for athletic performance Will Hicks in the release. "I mean, he verticaled 37.5 [inches]. He ran in the high 4.7s, so he put himself on the map today. But he also did that in the all-star game [2013 NFLPA Collegiate Game], he played in. He had a caused fumble, a sack, a tackle for loss, but what he did today was show his speed."

Here is the remaining pro day schedule for the rest of the ACC:

TODAY
  • Maryland
THURSDAY
  • Georgia Tech
March 18
  • Wake Forest
March 19
  • Florida State
  • Virginia
March 20
  • NC State
  • Virginia Tech
  • Boston College
March 25
  • Duke
March 26
  • North Carolina

ACC's 2012 All-Bowl team

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
11:00
AM ET
The ACC went 4-2 this bowl season, its first winning record since 2005. There were plenty of top performers to highlight, but these are the players who were most deserving of the ACC’s 2012 All-Bowl team:

Offense first team

[+] EnlargeTajh Boyd
Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsQuarterback Tajh Boyd had a record-setting game in Clemson's victory against LSU.
QB -- Tajh Boyd, Clemson: He had 368 yards of total offense against LSU on 79 total offensive plays. He set a Clemson record for plays in a game by a quarterback.

RB -- Lonnie Pryor, Florida State: He had a career-long 60 yard touchdown in the first half of the Orange Bowl, which was the second-longest touchdown run in FSU bowl history. In his final game as a Seminole, he also had a 37-yard run in the fourth quarter for his second touchdown in the game.

RB -- David Sims, Georgia Tech: He rushed for a game-high and career-best 99 yards on 17 carries, and caught a touchdown pass in the 21-7 win against USC.

WR -- DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson: He finished the game with 13 receptions for 191 yards and finished the season with 82 receptions for 1405 yards. Hopkins tied his own Clemson record for receptions in a game with 13. He also had 13 in the opener against Auburn.

WR -- Conner Vernon, Duke: He caught 10 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown against Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl. He helped Duke to 34 points against a Bearcats defense that entered the game ranked 12th nationally, allowing just 17.2 points per game.

TE -- Brandon Ford, Clemson: His nine receptions against LSU tied the overall Clemson single-game record for receptions by a tight end. He finished with 69 receiving yards, including one reception for 20 yards.

T -- Cameron Erving, Florida State: It was the sixth game this season with over 500 yards of total offense for the Seminoles. All three touchdown runs came between center and left tackle, and quarterback EJ Manuel had all day to throw.

T -- Perry Simmons, Duke: He led an offensive line performance that yielded zero sacks and allowed quarterback Sean Renfree to establish Belk Bowl records for pass completions (37), pass attempts (49) and passing yardage (358). Simmons also aided a running game that gained 200 net yards on 39 attempts as running back Josh Snead picked up a career-high 107 yards on just 17 attempts.

G -- Josue Matias, Florida State: The Noles racked up 243 rushing yards, 23 first downs and 534 yards of total offense. He was part of an offensive line that didn’t allow Manuel to be sacked once by Northern Illinois. Two of Pryor’s runs came between Erving and Matias.

G -- Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech: He helped pave the way for 294 rushing yards in the win against USC, and 369 total yards. He made his 39th career start, the second-most on the team.

C -- Dalton Freeman, Clemson: The Tigers had 100 plays and 32 first downs, and his blocking was a major factor.

Defense first team

DE -- Malliciah Goodman, Clemson: He set a bowl record with three sacks as Clemson held LSU to 219 yards of total offense.

DE -- Bjoern Werner, Florida State: In his last game with the Noles, the dominating end knocked down his eighth pass of the season, which is the second-most in the FBS by a defensive lineman. He finished with two tackles.

DT -- Derrick Hopkins, Virginia Tech: He had four tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and a sack. The sack was on Rutgers' first play of overtime, forcing them into long yardage which led to a long (and missed) field goal.

DT -- Grady Jarrett, Clemson: He had four tackles, including two tackles for loss, and one was a sack. He was a big reason Clemson held LSU to just 99 yards rushing.

LB -- Christian Jones, Florida State: Jones tied for the team lead with 10 tackles in the 31-10 Discover Orange Bowl win against Northern Illinois.

LB -- Vince Williams, Florida State: He tied Jones for the team lead with 10 tackles, and finished with one tackle for loss and a sack.

LB -- Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech: He led the Hokies with 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and had a pass breakup. Virginia Tech’s defense held Rutgers to 196 yards and three offensive points, none in the last three quarters.

CB -- Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech: Even though his statistics were modest -- three tackles, two pass breakups and an interception returned for 21 yards -- Sweeting was voted the game’s MVP. He fared well in a tough assignment, matching up with Biletnikoff Trophy winner Marqise Lee.

CB -- Antone Exum, Virginia Tech: The Russell Athletic Bowl’s MVP led a stifling pass defense that allowed just 129 yards. He made the play of the game with an interception of Gary Nova to set up the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. Virginia Tech’s defense allowed just 196 yards total, and just 17 completions from Nova on 40 attempts.

S -- Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State: He finished third on the team with six tackles, including one tackle for loss. The Northern Illinois receivers were no match for the FSU secondary and were rendered ineffective.

S -- Rashard Hall, Clemson: He led the team with nine tackles, including eight solo, in the win against LSU.

Specialists

PK -- Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson: He kicked the 37-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to give Clemson and the ACC a monumental 25-24 win against LSU. It was the fourth walk-off field goal in Clemson history, and Catanzaro has two of the four.

P -- A.J. Hughes, Virginia Tech: He tied the record under coach Frank Beamer for punts in a game with 11. He finished with an average of 42.2 with four punts inside the 20-yard line, and a long of 57.

SP -- Tobais Palmer, NC State: He returned a second-quarter kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the loss to Vandy, and became the first Pack player since Greg Golden in 2001 to return a kickoff for a score in a bowl game. He finished with 173 kickoff return yards, setting a new NC State season record with 1,130 KOR yards. Palmer and T.J. Graham (1,028 in 2008) are the only two Wolfpack players to go over 1,000 yards in kickoff returns in a single season. Palmer also went over 100 yards receiving for the third time in 2012, as he finished with eight catches for 111 yards.

2012 ESPN.com ACC all-conference team

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
9:00
AM ET
Despite the abundance of hype surrounding the quarterback position heading into this season, there was one player who quickly distanced himself from the rest. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd had a record-setting season and he was surrounded by several all-conference-caliber teammates. With five Tigers on the first-team offense, it’s no wonder Clemson was No. 6 in the country in scoring offense at 42.33 points per game. There was no running back in the ACC more electrifying than UNC’s Giovani Bernard, though, and to leave off his lead blockers in James Hurst and Jonathan Cooper would be unjust. Surprisingly, not one player from Florida State’s two-deep made the cut for first-team offense. There’s no question, though, the ACC champs dominated the defensive lineup with four first-team selections. Imagine a dream team made up of Clemson’s offense and Florida State’s defense.

Actually, the ACC’s dream team would look more like this, your 2012 ESPN.com ACC All-Conference team:

Offense First Team

QB -- Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB -- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

RB -- Andre Ellington, Clemson

WR -- DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

WR -- Conner Vernon, Duke

TE -- Brandon Ford, Clemson

T -- James Hurst, North Carolina

T -- Oday Aboushi, Virginia

G -- Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

G -- Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech

C -- Dalton Freeman, Clemson

Defense first team

DE--Cornellius Carradine, Florida State

DE--Bjoern Werner, Florida State

DT--Joe Vellano, Maryland

DT--Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

LB--Nick Clancy, Boston College

LB--Steve Greer, Virginia

LB--Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

CB--Ross Cockrell, Duke

CB--Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

S--Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S--Earl Wolff, NC State

Specialists

PK--Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P--Will Monday, Duke

SP--Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

Tajh Boyd headlines All-ACC team

November, 26, 2012
11/26/12
3:30
PM ET
Clemson had the best offense in the ACC this season, so it comes as no surprise that the Tigers dominated the All-ACC first team released Monday.

Quarterback Tajh Boyd and five teammates won first-team honors on offense, the first time Clemson has ever place six players on the All-ACC first-team offense and the first time any team has done it since Florida State in 1995.

Florida State and North Carolina each placed five players on the all-conference team, determined by a vote of 46 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

Boyd is joined on the first team by running back Andre Ellington, receiver DeAndre Hopkins, tackle Brandon Thomas, center Dalton Freeman and tight end Brandon Ford. Boyd led the ACC with 34 touchdown passes while Hopkins had league-bests of 16 total touchdown catches and an average of 104 yards receiving.

Nine teams had at least one first-team selection. There were no unanimous picks to the first team, but North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard was chosen as a first-teamer on 45 ballots. Bernard, who had an ACC-leading 1,228 yards rushing and 12 rushing touchdowns, joins Boyd as repeat first-team selections.

Bernard, a punt returner who also was picked as the first-team specialist, was joined by guard Jonathan Cooper, linebacker Kevin Reddick and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.

Four Florida State defensive players -- ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Lamarcus Joyner -- join kicker Dustin Hopkins on the first team.

Boston College (receiver Alex Amidon and linebacker Nick Clancy), Virginia (offensive tackle Oday Aboushi and linebacker Steve Greer) and Duke (cornerback Ross Cockrell and punter Will Monday) were the only other schools with multiple first-team picks.

You also should note that Virginia Tech and Miami did not have a first-team selection for the first time since they joined the ACC in 2004. Defensive end James Gayle, linebacker Jack Tyler and cornerback Antone Exum made the second team for Virginia Tech; Miami's Duke Johnson made the second team as a running back and specialist.

The league coaches will announce their all-conference team next week.

FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE
  • QB-Tajh Boyd, Clemson
  • RB-Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
  • RB-Andre Ellington, Clemson
  • WR-DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
  • WR-Alex Amidon, Boston College
  • OT-Oday Aboushi, Virginia
  • OT-Brandon Thomas, Clemson
  • OG-Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
  • OG-Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech
  • C-Dalton Freeman, Clemson
  • TE-Brandon Ford, Clemson
  • K-Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • Specialist- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE
  • DE-Bjoern Werner, Florida State
  • DE-Cornellius Carradine, Florida State
  • DT-Joe Vellano, Maryland
  • DT-Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
  • LB-Nick Clancy, Boston College
  • LB-Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
  • LB-Steve Greer, Virginia
  • CB-Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
  • CB-Ross Cockrell, Duke
  • S-Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
  • S-Earl Wolff, NC State
  • P-Will Monday, Duke

For the second-team and honorable mention selections, you can click here.

Boyd gets weekly Walter Camp honor

November, 18, 2012
11/18/12
1:45
PM ET
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was selected the Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week on Sunday for his record-setting performance in a 62-48 win over NC State.

Boyd accounted for a school-record 529 yards and a school and ACC record eight touchdowns in the win. He completed 30-of-44 passes for 426 yards and five touchdowns and also rushed for a career-high 103 yards and three more scores.

Boyd is now responsible for an ACC single-season record 41 touchdowns this season. He broke his own record of 38 set last year. His 79 touchdowns over the last two years are the most in consecutive years in ACC history.

Earlier in the week, Boyd was one of 15 players named the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List.

Boyd, tight end Brandon Ford and Vic Beasley were also honored by the College Football Performance Awards.

If you love offense, well, the ACC is the league to be this season.

No. 11 Clemson and NC State participated another wild shootout on Saturday, playing a game of scoring see-saw just like Georgia Tech and North Carolina did last weekend. In the end, the Tigers held on to their at-large BCS hopes, winning 62-48, avoiding an upset despite a defense that was plenty exposed despite its recent improvement.

The numbers are simply jaw dropping:
  • Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd accounted for eight touchdowns, setting a new ACC record. He threw for more than 400 yards and ran for more than 100 yards to set Clemson's single-game total offense record with 529 yards, passing Woody Dantzler (517 in 2001 against NC State).
  • Not to be outdone, NC State quarterback Mike Glennon found holes all over the Clemson secondary, throwing for 493 yards and five touchdowns.
  • NC State receiver Tobais Palmer accounted for 496 all-purpose yards -- second most EVER in college football history.
  • Running backs Shadrach Thornton and Andre Ellington each went over 100 yards; Palmer, Mario Carter, Sammy Watkins and Brandon Ford each went over 100 yards receiving.
  • Clemson ended up with over 700 yards of offense; NC State got nearly 600 yards, and both teams combined to run almost 200 plays on offense.

Whew.

This was a game of runs. Clemson (10-1, 7-1) jumped out to a 13-0 lead. Then NC State (6-5, 3-4) scored 24 straight. Then Clemson scored 42 straight. Then NC State ended the game on a 24-7 run. We all knew Clemson had some deficiencies in the secondary -- given inexperience and some major depth questions. Leave it to a quarterback as talented as Glennon to take advantage and find the openings.

But the Tigers have some talent of their own on offense, and simply had too many playmakers for the Wolfpack to stop.

Now Clemson closes the season against in-state rival South Carolina, which struggled in a win over FCS Wofford on Saturday. A win over the Gamecocks, and Clemson could very well find itself in the BCS again.

ACC injury report: Week 11

November, 9, 2012
11/09/12
11:00
AM ET
Here are the ACC injury reports for Week 11 from the schools that emailed them:

Clemson

Probable
Out for the season
Miami

Doubtful
Out
Surgery/Out for the season
North Carolina


Out


NC State

Questionable
Out
Out for the season
Virginia

Probable
Questionable
Doubtful
Out
Out for the season

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
12:00
PM ET
Headed to Atlanta. For the record, NC State wins tonight 28-21.

Countdown to kickoff: No. 19

August, 7, 2012
8/07/12
11:00
AM ET
There are 19 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. We’re counting down with 25 reasons to be excited about ACC football this year. This list features coaches, players, games, themes, position groups – 25 things for you to look forward to.

The countdown to kickoff continues with …

No. 19: Clemson’s offensive playmakers. If you like points, this one’s for you. This should be one of the most exciting groups in the country to watch, not only because of the talent and speed, but also because of how much better it could be in the second season under coordinator Chad Morris. Clemson returns three first-team all-ACC players to an offense that averaged a school-record 440.8 yards per game last year and scored a school-record 58 touchdowns and 470 points. And that was in Morris’ first season. It’s the first time since 1978 that Clemson returns three first-team all-conference players. That 1978 team went 11-1 and finished No. 6 in the final polls. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, receiver Sammy Watkins, and running back Andre Ellington get most of the ink, but the Tigers also have receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Jaron Brown, and tight end Brandon Ford.
  • No. 20 The ACC's record chasers
  • No. 21 Larry Fedora
  • No. 22 One of the nation's top rushing offenses
  • No. 23 The last season before expansion
  • No. 24 Brent Venables
  • No. 25 A fresh start at Maryland

Walter Camp watch list announced

July, 20, 2012
7/20/12
4:30
PM ET
The Walter Camp Football Foundation has announced the names of 50 players to watch for its 2012 Player of the Year award. Here are your ACC representatives:

Walter Camp Award (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Football Foundation)

The Walter Camp Award watch list was the final watch list scheduled to be announced by the National College Football Awards Association. As promised, I have been keeping a running list of your ACC players who are up for awards this year. Here is a compliation of the awards released over the past two weeks. Best of luck to those who were nominated:

Doak Walker Award (Presented to the nation's premier running back by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum)
Davey O'Brien Award (Presented to the nation's best quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation)
Biletnikoff Award (Presented to the nation's most outstanding receiver by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation)
Butkus Award (Presented to the nation's most outstanding linebacker by the Butkus Foundation)
Rotary Lombardi Award (Presented to the college lineman of the year by the Rotary Club of Houston)

Jim Thorpe Award (Presented to the nation's best defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club)
Outland Trophy (Presented to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America)
Lou Groza Award (Presented to the nation's top place-kicker by the Palm Beach County [Fla.] Sports Commission)
Ray Guy Award (Presented to the nation's best punter by the Augusta [Ga.] Sports Council)
Mackey Award (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding tight end by the Nassau County [N.Y.] Sports Commission)
Rimington Trophy (Presented to the nation’s premier center by the Boomer Esiason Foundation)
Bednarik Award (Presented to the college defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club)
Maxwell Award (Presented to the college player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club)

Mackey, Rimington watch lists announced

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
2:00
PM ET
Two more preseason watch lists have been released today by the National College Football Awards Association. (There will be one or two announced every weekday through July 20). I am keeping a master list for you guys that I will publish later this month, but for now I'll just post the most recent.

Here are your ACC representatives:

Mackey Award (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding tight end by the Nassau County Sports Commission)
Rimington Trophy (Presented to the nation’s premier center by the Boomer Esiason Foundation)

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage highlights

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
9:00
AM ET
A look back at the ACC's weekend scrimmages, according to each team's practice reports:

BOSTON COLLEGE

The Eagles had their third scrimmage of summer camp on Sunday evening at Alumni Stadium.

Offensive highlights:
  • Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 11 of 22 passes for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
  • Rettig’s touchdown was a 44-yard pass to wide receiver Alex Amidon. Amidon finished with three receptions for a scrimmage-high 91 yards.
  • Tailback Rolandan Finch carried the ball 13 times for 44 yards while Andre Williams recorded seven rushes for 42 yards, including an 18-yard gain in the scrimmage’s opening series. Tahj Kimble rushed five times for 13 yards. Williams participation was cut short after seven carries because of an ankle injury.
  • Receiver Colin Larmond, Jr. had three receptions for 48 yards, and sophomore Bobby Swigert caught three passes for 22 yards.
Defensive highlights:
  • Linebacker Nick Clancy highlighted the team’s defensive effort, recording five tackles -- including four tackles for loss -- and one pass break-up.
  • Linebacker Andre Lawrence also had five tackles while sophomore defensive back C.J. Jones recorded four. Junior end Max Holloway had two sacks and linebackers Luke Kuechly, Jake Sinkovec and Will Thompson all finished the scrimmage with three tackles apiece.
Special teams highlights:
  • Sophomore kickers Nate Freese connected on a 52-yard field goal attempt. Freese also connected from 27 yards while his opening attempt of the scrimmage (from 39 yards) missed.
CLEMSON

The Tigers had a 75-play scrimmage on Saturday morning.

Offensive highlights:
  • Quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 8-of-14 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, a 19-yard pass to redshirt freshman tight end Sam Cooper. Boyd had one interception, his first of the August scrimmages in Memorial Stadium.
  • Backup quarterback Cole Stoudt, who played against the first-team defense the entire day, was 4-of-12 for 57 yards. He threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Ford. It was the third straight scrimmage that Ford caught a touchdown pass.
  • D.J. Howard was the top rusher in the scrimmage, carrying eight times for 53 yards, and Andre Ellington finished with 37 yards on four attempts. He did not play after the opening drive.
  • Fifteen different players caught at least one pass and no one caught more than two. Dwayne Allen and DeAndre Hopkins both had two catches for 29 yards. Will Harrison had the longest catch of the day, a 31-yard reception from Tony McNeal.
Defensive highlights:
  • The first-team defense allowed just one touchdown, and that came in an overtime simulation.
  • Andre Branch had four tackles, including three tackles for loss, and a sack. Defensive end Mallicah Goodman added two sacks.
  • Tig Willard and Kantrell Brown had interceptions, and Cortez Davis caused a fumble.
Special teams highlights:
  • Sophomore kicker Chandler Catanzaro was 6-for-6 kicking field goals and extra points.
Notable:
  • Sammy Watkins missed the scrimmage with a hip injury. He is expected to return to practice on Monday. Brandon Thompson and Mike Bellamy also missed the scrimmage with minor injuries and are expected to return on Monday. Running back Demont Buice missed the scrimmage with a foot injury. Starting offensive guard Antoine McClain missed the scrimmage because of a death in his family and Bryce McNeal was out with the flu.
DUKE

The Blue Devils held a 100-snap scrimmage on Friday night at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Offensive highlights:
  • Running back Josh Snead carried the ball seven times for 45 yards with a 13-yard touchdown run and a 13-yard touchdown reception. Juwan Thompson led the team with 71 yards on five carries, including a 47-yard touchdown run. Junior Desmond Scott added 35 yards on five attempts.
  • Sean Renfree completed 16-of-25 throws for 155 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. After making just one of his first five attempts, Renfree reeled off 11 consecutive completions, including the 13-yard touchdown toss to Snead and a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout Brandon Braxton.
  • Receiver Conner Vernon had three receptions for a scrimmage-best 51 yards with all three catches producing first downs.
Defensive highlights:
  • Redshirt freshman defensive end Dezmond Johnson returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown.
  • Linebacker Kyler Brown recovered a fumble.
Special teams highlights:
  • Redshirt senior kicker Will Snyderwine made three field goals covering 26, 37 and 47 yards.
GEORGIA TECH

Offensive highlights:
  • The Yellow Jackets scored three touchdowns on rushing attempts by three different quarterbacks. Tevin Washington directed the first-team offense and his scoring play -- a 36-yard scamper after faking the pitch -- was one of the offensive highlights of the day. Redshirt freshman quarterback Synjyn Days also scored a touchdown on an eight-yard run and true freshman Vad Lee plunged in the end zone from the 1-yard line.
Defensive highlights:
  • Sophomore Isaiah Johnson intercepted a Vad Lee pass. Senior outside linebacker Steven Sylvester forced and recovered fumbles. Linebacker Malcolm Munroe also had a fumble recovery and linebacker B.J. Machen recorded a sack.
Notable:
  • Paul Johnson indicated that David Sims, a converted quarterback, has played himself into contention to start at B-Back.
  • Sophomore B.J. Bostic is out for four weeks with an undisclosed injury.
  • Saturday was Paul Johnson's birthday. Just before the team broke its final huddle of camp, the Yellow Jacket players sang "Happy Birthday" to the head coach.
WAKE FOREST

The Deacs held a 90-minute scrimmage on Friday morning at BB&T Field.

Offensive highlights:
  • Joshua Harris scored on a 96-yard run and had 112 yards rushing on just nine carries.
  • Quarterback Tanner Price completed 18 of 26 passes and threw one touchdown, hitting Danny Dembry on a 21-yard score.
  • Wake Forest’s first offensive line did not allow a sack on Friday.
Defensive highlights:
  • Three of the first four offensive possessions ended with punts after three plays. The offense managed just one first down on its first eight possessions.
  • The defense did accumulate four sacks but none against the first team. Derricus Ellis had a pair of sacks and Zachary Allen and Kris Redding each contributed one sack.
  • Linebacker Justin Jackson led all defenders with 10 tackles. Defensive backs Jason Green, A.J. Marshall and Duran Lowe all had six tackles apiece.
Special teams highlights:
  • Jimmy Newman made all four of his field goal attempts during the scrimmage and three extra points. Freshman Chad Hedlund was successful on four PATs.
It was a busy weekend in the ACC. Here's a look back at the highlights from the scrimmages, according to the sports information departments of the teams that provided reports:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Coach Frank Spaziani told reporters after the 70-minute scrimmage that there were some good things, but "it's like a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces in the box; they're not connected yet."

Offensive highlights:
  • Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 12 of 19 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. “I think Chase showed the progress he's been making,” Spaziani said. “The obvious things were fine; there were some subtle things he needs to work on.”
  • Rettig connected on passes of 10 yards six times, including a 30-yard pass to Colin Larmond, Jr., a 24-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field to receiver Bobby Swigert and a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior captain Ifeanyi Momah.
  • Larmond (3 receptions for 53 yards), Swigert (3-for-33), junior receiver Donte Elliott (3-for-37) and redshirt freshman tight end Jarrett Darmstatter (3-for-16) led a total of 12 receivers that registered at least one reception each.
  • Rettig and fellow quarterbacks Mike Marscovetra and Dave Shinskie combined for four touchdowns as Marscovetra went 6-for-9 for 30 yards and a touchdown pass of five yards to junior receiver Hampton Hughes and Shinskie connected on 4-of-5 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown to sophomore tight end Mike Naples.
  • Tailback Rolandan Finch carried the ball 10 times for a total of 30 yards to lead all running backs while sophomore Andre Williams broke free for a 20-yard touchdown run during red zone drills. Williams finished with five attempts for 21 yards and redshirt freshman Tahj Kimble accounted for 20 yards on five carries.
Defensive highlights:
  • Linebacker Nick Clancy and defensive back Sean Sylvia led the team with four tackles each.
  • Sophomore linebacker Jake Sinkovec had one interception and one fumble recovery.
CLEMSON

Quarterback Tajh Boyd had an impressive performance, as he completed 10 of 12 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown to highlight the new offense in Clemson’s 75-play scrimmage in Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning.

Offensive highlights:
  • Boyd completed each of his final eight passes to six different receivers. He threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, then connected on a 3-yard score to Dwayne Allen in a goal-line situation.
  • Allen had three receptions for 66 yards, including a diving catch over the middle for 14 yards and a first down. Brandon Ford had three receptions for 37 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass from Cole Stoudt.
  • Stoudt was 4-of-14 passing, but threw for 71 yards and two touchdowns, one to Ford and one to Bryce McNeal (23 yards).
  • Rod McDowell was the leading rusher with four carries for 68 yards, including a 39-yarder on his first carry of the day. Andre Ellington had five rushes for 41 yards and added two receptions, while freshman Mike Bellamy had five carries for 40 yards.
Defensive highlights:
  • The first-team defense did not allow a scoring drive.
  • Martin Jenkins led the team with seven tackles, including a tackle for loss.
  • Corico Hawkins had five tackles and a fumble recovery, while freshman defensive end Corey Crawford had five stops, including a sack.
Special teams highlights:
  • Clemson’s three kickers, Chandler Catanzaro, Ammon Lakip and Brian Symmes were a combined 16-of-16 on the day in field goal attempts and extra points against a live rush.
Notable:
  • Three Tigers missed the scrimmage because they were going through graduation exercises across the street from Memorial Stadium in Littlejohn Coliseum. Starting offensive tackle Landon Walker, starting safety Rashard Hall and reserve defensive end Kourtnei Brown all graduated from Clemson on Saturday. It was especially noteworthy for Hall, who has been at Clemson just three years. He joins Nick Eason (now in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals) as the only scholarship football players to graduate with two years of athletic eligibility remaining.
  • Four players missed the scrimmage due to injury. Those players were defensive back Xavier Brewer (sprained foot), defensive back Garry Peters (bruised calf), Andre Branch (head injury), DeShawn Williams (sprained ankle).
GEORGIA TECH

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson had mixed reviews after the Yellow Jackets' first scrimmage, which ran 90 minutes inside Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday morning.

"It was like a lot of first scrimmages, there were way too many balls on the ground and way too many penalties," Johnson said. "But we hit some big plays. When you play against each other there's positives and negatives on both sides. It's a starting place and we'll look at it and try to make some improvements."

Offensive highlights:
  • While no official statistics were kept, quarterback Tevin Washington passed for well over 100 yards, including a 63-yarder to senior A-back Roddy Jones. Redshirt freshman quarterback Synjyn Days threw the only touchdown of the day, to true freshman Jeff Greene.
  • Greene ran with the first unit Saturday as most of the veterans -- junior Stephen Hill, senior Tyler Melton, sophomore Jeremy Moore and junior Daniel McKayhan -- all sat out with injuries.
  • Washington scored the only other touchdown Saturday on a 1-yard QB keeper.
Defensive highlights:
  • Defensive end Emmanuel Dieke had a sack, true freshman Jamal Golden intercepted a Vad Lee pass, and Steven Sylvester and Isaiah Johnson both recovered fumbles.
Special teams highlights:
  • Sophomore Justin Moore booted a 45-yard field goal on his only attempt.
  • David Scully's 52-yard attempt was long enough, but just wide left.
MIAMI

The most important news out of Miami's first scrimmage was that quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris combined for five touchdown passes and only one interception. That sounds like improvement. Miami's quarterbacks combined for 407 passing yards on 38-of-52 passing for six touchdowns and only one interception.

Offensive highlights:
  • Receiver Tommy Streeter had the best offensive day for the Canes, catching five passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came from Harris.
  • Lamar Miller had runs of 16 and 31 yards on the opening drive.
Defensive highlights:
  • Senior defensive back JoJo Nicolas led all defenders with eight tackles (six solo), with two tackles for loss.
  • Ramon Buchanan and freshman Gionni Paul and each had six total tackles, with Paul also recording a tackle for loss.
  • The defense totaled eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a total loss of 29 yards
VIRGINIA TECH

The Hokies' offense was the highlight, but what does that mean for the defense? Coach Frank Beamer pointed out that there were some long plays allowed, as the offense racked up 398 yards of total offense in the 78-play scrimmage at Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The touchdowns came against Tech's second- or third-team defense, though, so the jury is still out.

"I thought it was a good first scrimmage -- better than most," Beamer said, according to the team's scrimmage report. "You take into consideration that you're trying to get everyone some work, people who don't know quite what they're doing, and that makes things a little ragged. I thought overall, though, it was a sharp scrimmage. The quarterbacks made some nice plays and Wilson got a couple of long plays against the defense, and we need to see what's going on there. Overall, the effort was good and the play was good."

Offensive highlights:
  • Backup quarterback Mark Leal led the quarterbacks with 116 yards passing, completing 6 of 13. He also threw an interception. Beamer said Leal is No. 2 on the depth chart behind Logan Thomas. Ju-Ju Clayton, who has dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart, completed 6 of 10 for 51 yards, while starter Thomas completed 4 of 8 for 79 yards, with an interception, in limited action.
  • Tailback David Wilson scored against the Hokies' second-team defense on a 22-yard run. Wilson led all rushers with 57 yards on five carries. Freshman Michael Holmes added 54 yards rushing on a game-high 11 carries.
Defensive highlights:
  • Freshman tackle Luther Maddy led the team with eight tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack. Freshman Michael Cole added six tackles, while Telvion Clark and Jack Tyler each finished with four.
  • Barquell Rivers had three tackles and an interception.
  • Jayron Hosley and freshman Ronny Vandyke also had interceptions. Hosley intercepted a Logan Thomas pass, while Vandyke intercepted a Trey Gresh attempt.
Special teams highlights:
  • The kickers connected on 5-of-6 attempts. Cody Journell hit from 35, 22 and 35 yards, while Justin Myer drilled a 52-yarder and a 28-yarder. "Cody's kicking extremely well," Beamer said. "Myer has a load of potential, and he needs to win some of the kicking contests during the week. That shows consistency, and that's where he is right now. Cody is usually winning it or right in the running at the end."

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